Friday, September 19, 2008

Going Commando

Not personally mind. In a cynical effort to improve my painting totals, AND in the faint hope of recouping some wargaming funds into the PayPal account, I knocked up a Rapid Fire battalion of Royal Marine Commandos last week.

I'd trawled the piles of figures bought when I was a child and found more than enough Matchbox and Airfix figures for this little project. However, heavy weapons were thin on the ground, not having survived the ravages of childhood, if provided at all. As memory serves both makers sent their Commandos to battle with a good selection of Knives, grappling hooks and ladders, but little in the way of machine guns or mortars.

Therefore I had to scratch-build some heavy equipment. Out with the plasticard.

The models were based mainly on coins, but the heavy weapons are on Artboard; presently the best supply of this appears to be WHSmith, who sell 5 A4 sheets for £4. They were undercoated with spray black, something essential for plastic figures if using acrylic paints.

Next the base colours were applied. More modern references (such as the recent Osprey book) show the Commandos in a browner garb, but I went with my older reference material and a more classic and distinct greenish brown. I was even able to add the Commando patch on the arms.

For the finishing I experimented with the different GW washes and settled on Devlan Mud as looking best overall. A generous layer of this was applied and then it was on to basing. I glued on a layer of Sand (using my ever favoured PVA woodglue, undiluted), which was then painted a basecoat of light brown (Dulux custom mix sample tin - £2 for 250ml of your choice of colour), then highlighted with desert sand followed by a light beige.

I added static grass, and then a new product to me, clump foliage. This was a simple product to use, but whereas the static grass is applied to spread out glue, I found quickly that the foliage worked best added to a blob. It is easier to get a good finish by pushing a batch of it lightly onto the glue and then letting the excess tip, or be brushed off.

And here in close up are those scratchbuilt weapons, and the finished product.

All in all they took about 8 hours to complete, which is pretty good for 48 figures. Not unsurprisingly, at the end of the project I was tempted to keep them. But they have gone on to eBay now [fancy a look? Click Here]. Of course if they don't sell...

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